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Israel destroys 500 Palestinian homes and displaces 1,000 during 2011

International human rights organizations have accused Israeli authorities of escalating operations to destroy Palestinian property over the past year. They asserted that "When compared to 2010, [the occupation had] doubled the pace of home demolitions and destruction of wells."

In a joint statement signed by over twenty human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, they stated that "Jewish settler violence against Palestinians has increased since 2011 and Israel has accelerated the expansion of settlements."


The statement drew attention to the fact that Israeli authorities had destroyed more than 500 Palestinian homes, alongside wells and other infrastructure and facilities over the past year. It has also displaced over 1,000 people; the largest number in a single year since 2005.

The human rights organizations indicated that settler attacks against Palestinians, including the willful damage of approximately 10,000 privately owned olive trees amounted to the worst rate since 2005. When compared 2010, the rate of attacks has increased by 50% and compared to 2009, it has increased by 160%. They drew attention to the fact that "the (settler) perpetrators of violations enjoyed virtual impunity from punishment, such that in the period between 2005 and 2010, 90% of complaints submitted to the police were dismissed without charge."

Quoting statistics from the Israeli organization Peace Now, the statement added that "Over the last year, Israel has approved plans to build 4,000 additional settler houses; the largest number since 2006." It urged members the Middle East Quartet; the US, the EU, The UN and Russia, to put pressure on Israel "to depart from their current settlement policies and freeze all acts of demolition which represent a violation of international law."

The publication of this report coincides with a planned visit to the region by representatives of the Middle East Quartet. The visit aims to revive peace talks which stalled last year due to the escalation of settlement activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

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